HYBRID SLOTS BETWEEN TIGUAN AND TOUAREGProving that perhaps you can keep slicing the cake smaller and smaller, and creating a niche of a niche, Volkswagen unveiled the new CrossBlue concept vehicle at this year’s North American Auto Show this January. This is a diesel-electric hybrid, which uses the company’s excellent TDI engine with two electric motors, DSG transmission to create an electric 4×4 system, which the boffins have dubbed ‘propshaft by wire’. Ignoring that for a moment, the six-seater vehicle is said to have a fuel consumption capacity of 134.5mpg.

The concept show vehicle had three rows of two seats, but it is expected that should this go into production, the second row would have a three seat option, making the vehicle a full seven seater. Obviously, and especially relevant for the US, the fuel economy figure was highlighted, but it is equally impressive to check out some of the other performance figures. For example, it is claimed that the hybrid engine has a power output of 305PS, and a significant torque figure of some 700Nm (516lb ft) thanks to those electric motors. This results in a top speed of some 127mph and a sprint from 0-60mph in a sprightly 7.0 seconds.

It is interesting that Volkswagen should consider this concept a ‘US-only’ concept, but likely that the drive system could find itself used in other vehicles. Whether there is a future for electric off-roaders is probably an argument that will run for some time, but with over 500lb fit of torque, you would, wouldn’t you?